tone

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

Rudeness is an Issue – How to Avoid it – 8/11/15 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


According to a recent times.com article, there are several top reasons why customers get frustrated with customer service. Tied for the biggest frustration is dealing with rude customer service representatives. Survey results noted that 75% of customers are “highly annoyed by rude or condescending employees.”

While many of us feel that we’re generally pleasant people, even the most pleasant individuals can run the risk of coming off as rude or condescending. This perception by others can come from the tone of voice, the actual words used, or body language in face-to-face situations.

In order to ensure that the answer you give or solution provided does not reflect negatively on you, here are several things you can do to avoid being perceived as rude or condescending:

  • Watch Subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) Tone Issues – Avoid the “huffs” or frustrated sighs, and don’t let your booming voice dominate them.
  • Avoid Using “you” if Discussing Blame – Don’t do this: “If you would have just done ABC, this wouldn’t have been an issue.”
  • Convey Some Empathy – There’s a difference between a coldly delivered “That’s against policy” and an empathetic “Unfortunately we’re not able to do ABC for this reason, but let’s talk about what we CAN do for you.”
  • Effectively Move to the Hold or Transfer – Don’t put someone on hold or transfer unless you first ask and explain why you’re making the move.
  • Consider the Body Language – Avoid the eye rolls, folded arms, smirks, a lack of focus on the customer, and – ugh – putting your hand up in the “stop” position.
  • Don’t Rush the Customer – This is by far the most frequent cause of perceived rudeness – even when customers are dealing with kind customer service representatives. Lacking patience, talking quickly, giving short answers, interrupting the other person, and not confirming that the customer got their need met are all drivers of that perception of a rude employee.

 
Avoid rudeness – the customer’s hot button with customer service.

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No, You’re Right – 3/10/15 TOW

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Everybody likes Sam, but it can be frustrating talking to him. In response to every idea and every question, he always starts the sentence with “No.” Even if he agrees, the response starts with “No” such as “No, you’re right.” It’s not that Sam’s being disagreeable, but it’s just the way he talks.

Sam’s a great guy, but until you get to know him, this “starting with ‘No’” habit makes him come across as negative. There’s a local radio personality that does this, too – whenever I hear his voice and that first “No,” I turn the station.

We often say that – until people really get to know us – they judge us largely by our body language and tone. And if you have a habit of saying something repeatedly that brings a negative vibe to the conversation, they’ll judge you by that phrase as well.

So be aware of and intentional about the words you use, but also keep in mind that we need to work toward positive conversations with others, and much of the positive/negative direction you go in conversations is based on the questions you ask.

Don’t ask the co-worker “Would you mind doing this for me?” If you do so, you’re forcing those that are willing to help to tell you “No, I don’t mind.” Instead ask “Could you please do this for me?”

Don’t ask the customers “Would it be an issue if I put you on hold for two minutes?” Again, you’re forcing the considerate customer to say “No.” Instead ask “Could you please hold for no more than two minutes while I investigate this for you?”

Remember, most people don’t like engaging with negative individuals, developing relationships with negative companies, or being asked questions that force them to respond No, No, No.

To add a positive tone to conversations, ask questions that elicit a ‘Yes.’

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Create Your Own Moments of Truth – 3/3/15 TOW

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Bonnie can run 100 miles an hour – not literally, of course. She’s a nursing assistant on a floor of a hospital, so she rarely goes into a full sprint, but she is constantly in motion. If you could watch her, you would see she’s hyper-productive. Whether it’s making the bed, dressing the patient, or taking vital signs, she’s efficient and quick.

Despite this high productivity, the patients and the co-workers never feel like she’s rushing them through or making them feel like a cog on the assembly line.

Bonnie has that innate ability to pause at just the right time and in the right way. When a patient has a need or question or comment, she looks the patient in the eye, and slows down the task. When the nurse manager has a question while Bonnie is “running” down the hall, Bonnie stops, faces the manager, smiles, and takes a calming breath. When a new co-worker is confused about the schedule or their assignment, Bonnie puts down her pen, softens her voice, and affixes her eyes on the co-worker’s papers.

As good as Bonnie is with her body language and tone of voice, she’s even better at something else. She’s better at seeing the situation.

When it comes to serving others, her eyes are always open for opportunities to engage others; the other person’s question, need, confused look, or eye contact are what Bonnie is always looking to see. She is always seeking cues for a chance to serve.

Work on the habit of looking for cues in others that there’s an opportunity to serve. When you see those opportunities, don’t let them go by.

Slow down, and start creating your own Moments of Truth.

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